The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced an emergency closure of the king salmon fishery throughout Southeast Alaska, effective midnight August 9. In simple terms – all kings will have to be released unharmed for the rest of the season after Wednesday the 9th.
The “extreme management measures” apply to the entire Southeast Region, where current survey data tells us that king salmon stocks are “experiencing record-low production” across the West Coast. The future of the king fishery is dependent on the spawning success of each year’s run and there is concern for a shortfall of spawners in 2017.
- Alaska Department of Fish and Game has an excellent long term track record in managing salmon. The short-term pain helps assure a bright future of king salmon fishing in Southeast Alaska.
- This closure affects resident and non-resident sport fishers as well as commercial harvesters. Everyone is in this together.
- Silver (coho) fishing this summer has been spectacular. Lots of salmon will be landed during the remainder of our season as all user groups do their share to protect kings. Halibut fishing is also excellent.
- The king run wanes by August 10 in years of low abundance like 2017. Although the opportunity to bring home a king ends, the thrill of fighting a king remains. We won’t be targeting kings, but they do mix in with the silvers.
- King sized silvers show up in mid to late August. Expect to see silvers in the mid-teens and a few might crack the 20 pound mark. These high jumping, hard running salmon are what people come to Sitka for in late August and September.
- The experience of fishing Southeast Alaska’s salt water wilderness doesn’t diminish with a conservation measure to protect king salmon, nor does Angling Unlimited’s devotion to customer satisfaction. The fishing lasts three or four days, the memories go on forever.